Carolina Panthers and former LSU Tigers safety Eric Reid just may have a point.
Whether or not the NCAA should pay athletes has long been a hot topic, but as the facilities and amenities at some big-time college programs continue to rival and often outshine those in the pros, the debate just grows even more heated. The latest case in point? Check out the video for the new locker room for the LSU Tigers football team below:
LSU just spent $28 million to renovate a locker room that Reid says was already nicer than what he uses today in the NFL. He sees the program’s money being spent in the wrong direction. Why not just pay the student-athletes directly as opposed to spending tons of dollars on lavish facilities they’ll only get to utilize for a few short years of their lives?
Reid, who starred for the Tigers from 2010-12, fired a powerful salvo in the war to compensate NCAA athletes when he tweeted: “The locker room when I was at LSU 7 years ago was better than the current one in Carolina. But there’s no money to compensate these young men for the revenue they bring to the school.”
Wherever you stand on the issue of paying NCAA athletes, LSU’s latest venture likely won’t hurt the Tigers on the recruiting trail. As a part of the massive upgrade to the locker room, each player will have his own sleep pod complete with iPod mount (for watching game film, says the video above) and charging station. The pod starts as a purple and gold sitting chair with the LSU Tiger logo emblazoned on the back before it expands into a lounger that allows players to fully extend their legs and lie down.
The whole room looks like something out of a science fiction film with a very modern aesthetic the folks at LSU said they borrowed from first-class pods on airplanes.
Of course LSU isn’t the only college football program to go all-out with extravagant facilities for its athletes. The University of Oregon, the school of 10,000 uniform combinations, is known to have one of the top training facilities in the world. The Ducks are treated to a state-of-the-art weight room and meeting room as well as an on-site barber shop. Oregon players also have sleeping pods, but they have to leave the locker room to get to them (how 2016).
The question is, with all this money to spend on absurdly luxurious facilities, is it time to start directly rewarding the players financially? Eric Reid certainly thinks so. Stay tuned. This topic isn’t going away anytime soon.